Published at Thursday, December 10th, 2020 - 09:02:55 AM. 6th Grade Math. By Debora Weeks.
What you may know is that my mother bought me my first underwear at thirteen (a milestone I celebrated by putting that thing on and pulling it up to make sure my peers noticed that social promotion-that is once she told me that the tag goes on the back). You also may be aware of how she came to visit me at Kangundo Hospital, where I was admitted suffering from Malaria, and then she removed her shoes and handed them to me-I was 17. What is astonishing is how much my mother, a sixth-grade dropout, influenced my life-a revelation I am going through since she came to visit my family early this month. It is our first time to see her in eleven years.
We play a rendition of childhood game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, where I ask the kids to tape index cards containing the changes that happen during puberty on the appropriate gender symbol. Yes, more giggly! We then move on to basic anatomy and physiology, including an overview of the brain, glands, the pituitary gland, hormones, testosterone and estrogen, followed a discussion of the sperm, the egg, menstrual periods, wet dreams and ejaculation. The giggly is over, replaced with an occasional exclamation "Ewwwww, thats gross!" These outbursts are consistently normalized by reinforcement that the body is an amazingly intelligent and complex machine; that the miracle of life is indeed a miracle; and that each child in the room is, in fact, a miracle. We take some time for questions and then move on to an introduction to the emotional changes that happen during puberty as a set up for our next class.
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